Tulsa Parking parody accountIn a nutshell, that’s public service’s Twitter problem. Parody accounts are easy to make and hard to counter. To the credit of the maker of the parody account @Tulsa_Parking, the account is clearly labeled as a satire.  Also, the City of Tulsa picked a response approach that is a little heavy handed and legally questionable, as the seal has been altered by the addition of the poop emoji, among other things. Tulsa Parking is so proud of the response that they pinned it to the top of their account.

The parody twitter account links to a website that carries this warning:

“This is a satire site protected by the 1st Amendment.

We are in no way affiliated with the bloodsucking parasites that are employed by the City of Tulsa

Suck it, nerds.”

The website notes Tulsa Parking’s nomination by The Tulsa Voice for “Best Tulsan to Follow on Social Media,” links to an event announcement on Facebook, and then contains the text of Machiavelli’s The Prince.

Laws on parody accounts generally are evolving and focus on consequences such as actual harm being caused.  A British attempt to close a government parody account was briefly successful but then reversed. India appears to have succeeded in their attempt. Trying to close such accounts in the US raises obvious First Amendment issues. Further, Twitter is littered with government parody accounts and has formal policies on how to create and respond to parody accounts.

Lighten up, City of Tulsa. The account’s popularity is a hint that you can’t intimidate the author, and you also have zero chance of successful prosecution.  Look inward and ask yourself why it has struck a chord — is the attack merited? Twitter is a mechanism for changing government policies, even when politeness is not observed. Otherwise, learn from the experience of others of dealing with trolls. Turn it into an engagement opportunity. See it as a teachable moment.

Of course, if it was an emergency situation and lives were at stake, the advice would be different. But parking? Really.

TTI Social Media 101

For presentation to first-time social media users at TTI.

PI_2015-01-09_social-media_02Why social media?

  • Join the Conversation
  • Boost the TTI signal
  • Pass along that report, website, article
  • Choose the platform(s) that suit you
  • Share a current event with others
  • Make the world a better placeGingerSXSW031415b


Texas A&M University System and Institution Social Media Guidance

Business Use

Personal Use

  • Employee Use and Engagement Guidelines http://www.tamus.edu/marcomm/socialmedia/employee-guidelines/
    • Note to System employees using their own personal social media sites: Make it clear that the views expressed are yours. Recognize that effective social engagement depends upon transparency. Your honesty —or dishonesty — will be quickly noticed in the social media environment, and your credibility — and that of the A&M System and or University — will be at stake. If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, be the first to point it out. Write in the first person, and if you maintain a personal blog or website and write opinion pieces about the A&M System or its entities, use a disclaimer, such as “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent the positions, strategies or opinions of The Texas A&M University System or its entities.
  • Aggie Code of Honor http://student-rules.tamu.edu/aggiecode

Anatomy of a Tweet

  • Give information. Buses are available.
  • Include a picture or image (important).
  • Put a face in it (with their permission).
  • Evoke with locational or seasonal cues (e.g. Rudder Tower).
  • Include relevant Twitter accounts (@TxDOT).
  • Include subject matter, event, affinity hashtags (should have used #ShortCourse). For further reading: The History and Power of the Hashtag – How Twitter and #Politics Mix (County.org) http://county.org/magazine/features/Pages/2015Jan/The-History-and-Power-of-the-Hashtag.aspx



      • Other pitfalls           LinkedIn001

Instagram deezInstagram






  • Deez Nutz story on Buzzfeed
  • Social Media behavior is like Comedy Improv (hat tip to Jamison Day, who takes his life in his hands every time he runs this crisis simulation) ImprovGuidelinesFacebook – don’t believe everything you read thereOttermelon

More about platforms


Judgement: Use ItBlazingSaddlesToll150

For more information

Texas Tribune article

“You need to think through all the way to the end,” Polunsky cautions, “so that people feel not just that they had their say, but that they were listened to.”

Ross Ramsey interviews me for a Texas Tribune article about public testimony over the Internet.

Analysis: More Voices, and Perhaps, More Headaches